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Fencing: Wildcats may break school wins record at NU Dual

A+Northwestern+fencer+dodges+an+opponent%27s+attack.+The+Wildcats+are+seven+wins+away+from+setting+a+school+record+for+wins+in+a+season.
A Northwestern fencer dodges an opponent's attack. The Wildcats are seven wins away from setting a school record for wins in a season.

A Northwestern fencer dodges an opponent's attack. The Wildcats are seven wins away from setting a school record for wins in a season.

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Source: Northwestern Athletics

A Northwestern fencer dodges an opponent's attack. The Wildcats are seven wins away from setting a school record for wins in a season.

Peter Warren, Assistant Sports Editor

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After breaking the single-season win streak record two weeks ago in Philadelphia, Northwestern has a chance to smash the single-season wins record.

With only one regular season dual remaining, the No. 8 Wildcats’ final shot to break the record will be at the NU Duals this weekend.

NU currently sits at 39-5 with 12 bouts to fence this weekend. The team will need seven wins to break the school record set during the 2009-2010 season when the Cats finished with 45 victories.

“It is something we are not focusing on,” coach Zach Moss said. “But it would be really cool considering we broke the record for consecutive wins. To break both records in one season, it would be amazing.”

The NU Duals, on paper, is the toughest of NU’s season. Including the Cats, there are five top-10 teams attending the dual: No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 4 Princeton, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Temple. In addition to those five, Duke, North Carolina, Stanford and UC San Diego are competing and all four received votes in the latest poll, placing them right outside the top 10.

NU has fenced against six of those eight teams. Earlier last month, the Cats defeated Temple, Stanford and UCSD, while they lost to North Carolina and Princeton in November and Notre Dame last week.

“We are fencing eight teams that are ranked in the top 10 or received votes that basically put them in the top 15,” Moss said. “That is a tough slate. I feel like we are ready and the team will handle it well.”

While the dual is technically a home meet, it will not take place in Evanston or the Chicagoland area. With Henry Crown Sports Pavilion — NU’s usual home — under renovation, the NU Duals will be held in South Bend. This will be the second week in a row the Cats travel to Indiana to compete in a weekend dual.

Junior foil Sharon Chen said that while the team wishes it was competing in Evanston, fencing at Notre Dame provides extra motivation to take down the defending national champs.

“There has been some negative feelings towards not being able to have it at Northwestern and have our friends and family, our friends especially, be able to see us,” Chen said. “I do know that being at Notre Dame fires us up more to defeat the Irish at the home of the Irish.”

An emphasis for the team this year has been team chemistry. Sophomore Adelle Berdichevsky said the team’s improved dynamic has made the team closer off the strip and better on it.

“The team dynamic has changed a lot since last year,” Berdichevsky said. “It has become a lot stronger. We are definitely more of a family and all have each other’s backs, and that has really strengthened the team overall and it has shown in our performance.”

The NU Duals will also be the final regular season dual for the team’s nine seniors. The senior class includes sabre Sacha Bazzal, epee Anna Tolley, epee Katie Van Riper and sabre Emine Yücel.

Chen said breaking the school record for wins would be a great way to honor the seniors.

“It is my personal goal to have them leave this season feeling that we have accomplished so much,” Chen said. “(To break the record) would be the best feeling ever. I don’t want the senior class to leave, but if they must they should go with a bang.”

Email: peterwarren2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thepeterwarren

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